What’s Driving the Public? A Cross-Country Analysis of Political Attitudes, Human Values and Political Articulation


This study addresses how political attitudes are shaped across national contexts. It does so by investigating the influence of nation-specific political articulation and framing on the relationship between human values and political attitudes. Based on the literature, two attitude dimensions can be identified. First, the socioeconomic dimension captures the tension between economic equality and equity (rewarding achievements and effort). Second, the sociocultural dimension captures the tension between individual/civil liberties and traditions/conservative norms. Very few comparative studies systematically investigate the influence of a coherent structure of more basic and abstract motivations (values) on political attitudes. We fill this gap by examining the influence of basic human values on the socioeconomic and sociocultural attitude dimensions across national contexts. To investigate the impact of human values and political attitudes, individual-level data from the European Social Survey (ESS) from 2008 are analyzed using multi-group structural equation modeling (MGSEM). Moreover, we also explore political discourse as a key contextual factor at the country level modifying the relationships between values and attitudes. Specifically, we use data from the Comparative Manifesto Project to investigate the moderating influence of political articulation, i.e., the articulation of socioeconomic and sociocultural issues in political party manifestos, on the relationship between values and political attitudes across countries. Results indicate substantial cross-national variation in the link between values and sociopolitical attitudes, and that this variation can be partly explained by the articulation of sociopolitical issues.

Sociological Research Online, 19(1), 14